What are cannabinoids?

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you ever wondered why your college roommates used to get the munchies after they smoked a little of the cheech, then look no further than a system of hormones called cannabinoids. These little suckers hinder the ability of insulin to push sugar into your cells (the receptors are influenced by marijuana, or the cannabis plant, which is why they're called cannabinoids). So? Well, if your body doesn't sense that it's been fed (via glucose), then your brain gets the signal that you're still hungry. People who have a haywire cannabinoid system never get that signal, so they eat and eat, and gain and gain. The most frustrating thing about these receptors is that you could be a person who does everything right (eating, exercising) and still not budge when it comes to the scale or the tape measure. The cannabinoid system has that much influence on your body.
Cannabinoid-receptor-blocking drugs are in development, and we may very well see anti-obesity drugs that work via this system. Removing omental fat (that's the fat around your waist and between your organs, especially hanging off your stomach) through the choices you make reduces the production and amount of cannabinoids that wreak hormonal havoc, so even without drugs, you can help yourself. Up to 20 percent of obese people probably have a major problem with this cannabinoid system and could benefit one day from drugs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.